By Allison Long, ASW, Transformational Recovery Program counselor
Blame is a lonely island and the journey back to the mainland of personal responsibility can be rough, but it is so worth it.
I spent some years feeling stuck/unhappy and eagerly pointing my finger at other people, outside circumstances, general misfortune, and majorly bad luck. This quick fix was more like quicksand. The more I pointed the finger, the angrier I became. The angrier I became, the more I withdrew into a delusion of terminal uniqueness. I spoke this delusion into existence by telling everyone things like, “I just have the worst luck when it comes to…” and “This keeps happening to me.”
I’ve heard people say, “The first step is admitting you have a problem.” For me, the first step was admitting that my difficulties were not unique, but part of a shared experience with many other humans. This took the wind out of the “poor me” sails. The next step was a fascinating and electrifying blend of pain and liberation – Accepting the truth that I was the common denominator among my troubles. Regardless of the part that other people had played in the past, I was responsible for the present day.
The ability to take responsibility for my own actions is one of the greatest gifts I have given myself. When I acknowledge my part, I’m speaking truth to power; The power to change the only thing that I can control – ME. I’ve come to know a level of freedom that I didn’t know was possible and the most important part is that personal responsibility has enabled me to become responsible for my community. A clear recognition of who I am and what is within my control has helped me to see a clear path of how I can positively impact those around me.
An exercise that can help when starting down the path of changing the pattern from blame to personal responsibility is to say ‘just like me’. Those people you are pointing the finger at… ‘just like me’. That colleague who is so frustrating and keeps on doing that annoying thing… ‘just like me’.
Just like me….